March Madness- Round of 64- Day 1 Preview

March Madness is underway! NC State and Albany clinched berths in the round of 64 with wins in the First Four last night. Today, I will discuss who will win tomorrow’s (March 20th) games.

(11) Dayton vs. (6) Ohio State- South Region

Colin’s Prediction: Ohio State- Dayton will give Ohio State a thrill, but Aaron Craft (OSU) will step up late.

(15) American vs. (2) Wisconsin- West Region

Colin’s Prediction: Wisconsin- An upset by American would be monumental, but Wisconsin should win this one.

(9) Pittsburgh vs. (8) Colorado- South Region

Colin’s Prediction: Pittsburgh- The Panthers will dominate inside behind Talib Zanna.

(12) Harvard vs. (5) Cincinnati- East Region

Colin’s Prediction: Harvard- In my first upset pick, the Crimson will pull off another NCAA tournament shocker, but expect this to be a close game.

(14) Western Michigan vs. (3) Syracuse- South Region

Colin’s Prediction: Syracuse- The Orange 2-3 zone will be too much for the Broncos’ offense.

(10) BYU vs. (7) Oregon

Colin’s Prediction: Oregon- The Ducks’ offense is extremely dynamic, but their defense will have to step up if they want to win.

(16) Albany vs. (1) Florida- South Region

Colin’s Prediction: Florida- The Gators’ defense is relentless, and they have the nation’s top point guard in Scottie Wilbekin.

(13) Delaware vs. (4) Michigan St.- East Region

Colin’s Prediction: Michigan St.- The Spartans are a popular pick for the Final Four, and their road begins with a win over Delaware. Watch for sophomore Gary Harris to take over the game.

(10) St. Joseph’s vs. (7) Connecticut- East Region

Colin’s Prediction: Connecticut- The Huskies’ offense, fueled by senior Shabazz Napier, will have a tough time with A-10 champ St. Joe’s, but UConn will eventually get the job done.

(15) Wofford vs. (2) Michigan- Midwest Region

Colin’s Prediction- Michigan- The Wolverines are expected to win this one easily. Watch for sophomore guard Nik Stauskas and sophomore Caris LeVert.

(12) NC State vs. (5) Saint Louis- Midwest Region

Colin’s Prediction: NC State- In my second 12 seed upset, NC State will upset St. Louis. The Billikens have experience, as they start five seniors, but TJ Warren (NCSU) will take over the game in the second half.

(12) N. Dakota St. vs. (5) Oklahoma- West Region

Colin’s Prediction: Oklahoma- Many are predicting an upset in this game, but Oklahoma’s experience will carry them to the third round.

(15) Milwaukee vs. (2) Villanova- East Region

Colin’s Prediction: Villanova- The Wildcats’ guard play will play a major role in a Villanova win.

(10) Arizona St. vs. (7) Texas- Midwest Region

Colin’s Prediction: Texas- The Longhorns will pull this one out, with guard Javan Felix paving the way.

(13) Manhattan vs. (4) Louisville- Midwest Region

Colin’s Prediction: Louisville- The Cardinals, another popular Final Four pick, will win an easy one over Manhattan, as Russ Smith and Luke Hancock will power Louisville’s three-point shooting.

(13) N. Mexico St. vs. (4) San Diego St.- West Region

Colin’s Prediction: San Diego St.- The Aztecs’ experience, including Xavier Thames, will help them win their second-round game with ease over the Aggies.

Bracketology- March 11

Selection Sunday is just 5 days away! Many college basketball experts are predicting the seeds and matchups of this year’s bracket. Today, I will list the conference champions who have clinched a berth in the tournament and discuss which teams get which seed.

Conference Champions: Mercer (Atlantic Sun), Coastal Carolina (Big South), Delaware (CAA), Harvard (Ivy), Manhattan (MAAC), Wichita State (Missouri Valley), Eastern Kentucky (Ohio Valley)

Projected Seeds:

No. 1 Seeds- Florida (No. 1 overall), Wichita State, Arizona, Villanova

No. 2 Seeds- Virginia, Duke, Kansas, Louisville

No. 3 Seeds- Syracuse, Michigan, Wisconsin, San Diego St.

No. 4 Seeds- Cincinnati, N. Carolina, Creighton, Iowa St.

No. 5 Seeds- Michigan St., New Mexico, Oklahoma, St. Louis

No. 6 Seeds- Kentucky, UConn, Memphis, UCLA

No. 7 Seeds- VCU, UMass, Ohio St., Texas

No. 8 Seeds- Oklahoma St., Iowa, Oregon, Gonzaga

No. 9 Seeds- Colorado, Baylor, Kansas St., Nebraska

Bracketology- February 24

March Madness is right around the corner, and many college basketball experts are starting to predict the seeding of teams in the Big Dance. Today, I will discuss who gets what seed (No. 1-9 today) and I will list the projected conference champions.

Projected Conference Champions- Vermont (America East), Cincinnati (American), St. Louis (A10), Virginia (ACC), FGCU (Atlantic Sun), Kansas (Big 12), Creighton (Big East), Weber St. (Big Sky), VMI (Big South), Michigan (Big 10), UCSB (Big West), Delaware (CAA), MTSU (Conference USA), Green Bay (Horizon), Harvard (Ivy), Iona (MAAC), Toledo (MAC), NCCU (MEAC), Wichita St. (Missouri Valley, clinched regular-season title), San Diego St. (Mountain West), Robert Morris (Northeast), Murray St. (Ohio Valley), Arizona (Pac-12), Boston U (Patriot), Florida (SEC), Davidson (Southern), Stephen F. Austin (Southland), Southern (SWAC), North Dakota St. (Summit), Georgia State (Sun Belt), Gonzaga (West Coast),  New Mexico St. (WAC)

Seed Projections:

No. 1 Seeds: Florida, Arizona, Wichita St., Syracuse

No. 2 Seeds: Duke, Creighton, San Diego St., Kansas

No. 3 Seeds: Cincinnati, Villanova, Michigan State, Louisville

No. 4 Seeds: Virginia, St. Louis, Wisconsin, Michigan

No. 5 Seeds: N. Carolina, Iowa St., Kentucky,  UCLA

No. 6 Seeds: Connecticut, Texas, Iowa, VCU

No. 7 Seeds: Missouri, Kansas St., Ohio St., Texas

No. 8 Seeds: Oklahoma St., Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, Gonzaga

No. 9 Seeds: Arizona St., Colorado, SMU, California

Bubble Watch- Feb. 17

Selection Sunday is just 4 weeks away, and many teams are trying to improve their resumes. Today, I will discuss teams that are squarely on the bubble watch, what their resumes are, and how they can improve them before the tournament.

 

Bubble Teams:

 

NC State (16-9, 6-6 ACC)

Best Win- at Tennessee

Worst Loss- NC Central

What they have to do: The Wolfpack need to win 20 games, finish in the top 5 in the ACC, and beat North Carolina and Pittsburgh.

 

Oklahoma State (16-9, 4-8 Big 12)

Best Win- Memphis

Worst Loss- at Texas Tech

What they have to do: The Cowboys need 20 wins, a .500 finish in the Big 12, and wins over Kansas and Iowa State.

 

Xavier (17-8, 7-5 Big East)

Best Win- Marquette

Worst Loss- Seton Hall

What they have to do: Xavier needs 22 wins, a semifinal finish or better in the Big East Tournament, and wins over Creighton and Villanova (both are home games)

 

California (17-8, 8-4 Pac-12)

Best Win- Arizona

Worst Loss- at UC Santa Barbara

What they have to do: The Bears need to beat UCLA, win 20 games, and finish at least in the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament.

 

Missouri (18-7, 6-6 SEC)

Best Win- UCLA

Worst Loss- Georgia

What they have to do: The Tigers need to win 25 games, place in the semifinals of the SEC tournament, and beat Tennessee on the road.

College Basketball Bubble Watch

March Madness is only five weeks away, and games become much more valuable. Many teams are sitting on the bubble, and need huge wins to get off of it. We’ll go conference-by-conference to show who is on the bubble watch and how they can move away from it.

ACC

Locks- Syracuse, Duke, Pittsburgh, Virginia

On the Bubble:

North Carolina (16-7, 6-4 ACC)- The Tar Heels have been the most confusing team this season, with big wins (at Michigan State, vs. Kentucky) being cancelled out by embarrassing losses (at UAB, vs. Belmont).

What they have to do: North Carolina has many opportunities for more big wins, including Wednesday night’s battle with rival Duke at home. UNC needs to reach 20 wins and not lose more than 7 conference games to make the tournament.

Clemson (15-7, 6-4 ACC)- Clemson has been a good team this year, but their lack of big wins has put them in bad position. The Tigers have one signature win (vs. Duke), but no bad losses.

What they have to do: Clemson needs to beat Virginia and Pittsburgh at home to better its resumé. However, losses to either Notre Dame or Georgia Tech will kill their momentum.

Big 10

Locks- Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Iowa, Wisconsin

On the Bubble:

Minnesota (16-8, 5-6 Big 10)- Minnesota has had a solid first season under new coach Richard Pitino, including a huge win over Ohio State earlier this season. But, the Golden Gophers have two crippling defeats at Nebraska and at home against Northwestern.

What they have to do: Minnesota needs to beat Iowa at home, have at least 20 wins, and finish above .500 in Big 10 play.

Big 12

Locks- Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa State

On the Bubble:

Kansas State (16-7, 6-4 Big 12)- The Wildcats are proving they are among the conference’s elite after blowing Texas out of Manhattan on Saturday. Kansas State has more than enough opportunities to win big games.

What they have to do: Kansas State has three games left against ranked teams- two at home (Kansas, Iowa State) and one on the road (Oklahoma)

Oklahoma State (16-7, 4-6 Big 12)- The Cowboys have been on a free fall, losing five of six and losing Marcus Smart due to Big 12-mandated suspension.

What they have to do: Oklahoma State needs to hold serve while Marcus Smart is out, and they need to beat Kansas at home.

 

Super Bowl XLVIII Reaction

Last night’s Super Bowl rocked the football world, as the Broncos’ offense, which was lauded as the greatest in NFL history, came to a screeching halt at the Meadowlands.

Key Plays

1. The first-snap safety: My sister believes that this play was the turning point of the football game, and I concur. This play dropped Denver’s confidence level and gave Seattle the momentum.

2. The interception return TD: Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith intercepted Manning and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown to put Seattle up 22-0 in the second. This play was key because the Broncos were working on a potential scoring drive which could have put them back in the game. But, Seattle had a huge point swing that continued their momentum.

3. The kickoff return TD: Denver knew it needed a stop on Seattle’s first drive of the second half. Russell Wilson and the offense didn’t need to step onto the field as Percy Harvin returned the second-half kickoff for a touchdown, putting the Seahawks up 29-0. At this point, Seattle had full control of the game, and the Broncos were about ready to give up.

Why Seattle won: The Seahawks are taking home the Vince Lombardi Trophy because they played intense defense. They forced four turnovers, three by Peyton Manning, and held the Broncos to just 27 rushing yards. Seattle never let up defensively, staying aggressive the whole game.

Why Denver lost: They had no offensive rhythm. I never heard Manning say his now world-famous “Omaha! Omaha!” during the game. Denver had 4 drives end in turnovers, 2 end on 4th downs, 2 punts, and a safety compared to just one scoring drive. The defense was also a mess, allowing Seattle to convert 7 out of 12 third downs and allowing 8 yards per pass (not per completion). 

 

Super Bowl XLVIII Preview

The 48th edition of the Super Bowl should be a classic, as the game pits the best offense (Denver) and the best defense (Seattle) in the NFL.

Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks finished the regular season 13-3 and won the NFC West title. In the playoffs, they defeated New Orleans in the divisional round and upended San Francisco in the NFC Championship.

Players to watch for: QB Russell Wilson, RB Marshawn Lynch, CB Richard Sherman, WR Golden Tate

How Seattle will win: The Seahawks will have to pressure Peyton Manning, who has rarely been sacked. Watch for a potential matchup between Richard Sherman and Denver WR Demariyus Thomas. On the offensive side, Russell Wilson will have to come out of his shell and use all of his receivers. Marshawn Lynch will also have to run the ball effectively. Watch WR Percy Harvin as he returns from his concussion.

Denver Broncos: The Broncos finished the season 13-3 and won the AFC West. In the playoffs, they barely held off San Diego in the divisional, and then they defeated New England in the conference championship.

Players to watch for: QB Peyton Manning, WR Demariyus Thomas, TE Julius Thomas, LB Danny Travathan

How Denver will win: The Broncos offense will have to shred Seattle’s defense if they want offensive success. RB Knowshon Moreno will need to run the ball to take pressure off of Manning. On the defensive side, Denver needs their front 7 to step up in order to stop Marshawn Lynch. Also, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and the Denver secondary will need to contain Seattle’s best receivers, including Percy Harvin, Golden Tate, and Doug Baldwin.

Colin’s Prediction: Seattle 23, Denver 21- The Seahawks win the Super Bowl on a last-second field goal by Steven Hauschka.